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Bump in the Night Triggers Lights On

I’ve visited many high-tech homes over the years, and one element that seems to resonate with all types of families is a “panic” button by the bedside. If you’ve invested, or are ready to invest, in a control system, it’s a feature you’ll be sure to appreciate too.

Added to a keypad or touchscreen, a panic button or icon can illicit any number of different reactions. For example, when pressed, it can signal all of the lights inside and outside the house to activate, or maybe just all of the lights on the exterior. It’s completely your choice, as the buttons of a control system can be programmed to do just about anything you like. As for the button, it doesn’t have to be labeled “panic.” You can call it “bump in the night,” “what’s that noise,” or “help”…whatever makes sense.

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It’s a fairly common practice to have the light snap on in an “emergency,” but there are other tactics you can take. And you’ll just need to press that one button by your bedroom nightstand:

• Verbal Warning: If you already have speakers outside … or even inside, have them broadcast a loud warning to “leave the premises,” or something equally stern and foreboding (maybe a recording of a barking dog). Even just playing music might be enough to scare the trespassers away.

• Alarm: A simple alarm aimed at the backyard is always an effective scare-tactic.

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• Pathway: If you’d like to see what’s happening outside, have the system light a dim pathway from your bedroom to the room with the best view. Do the same for the kids – their “panic” buttons could light a path from their bedrooms to yours.

• Open and Shut: In most cases, if a trespasser thinks you are home, he’ll leave. Have the panic button command the shades, the garage door—anything that’s motorized and can be seen from the exterior—to open and close. Or, if provides a sense of security, have the drapes and shades close.

• Surveillance: Have the control system activate your bedroom TV and transmit images from your home’s surveillance cameras directly to the TV.

• Security Sweep: You’ve probably armed the security system before bedtime … or did you? The panic button can initiate a sweep throughout the house to make sure everything is armed and watching.

More about home security here.